22 July 2019

Two MagLab scientists recognized with prestigious NSF awards

Physicist Christianne Beekman (left) and chemist Yan-Yan Hu of the National MagLab and Florida State University have been awarded prestigous CAREER grants from the National Science Foundation. Physicist Christianne Beekman (left) and chemist Yan-Yan Hu of the National MagLab and Florida State University have been awarded prestigous CAREER grants from the National Science Foundation. Stephen Bilenky

Physicist Christianne Beekman and chemist Yan-Yan Hu have been recognized as outstanding early-career researchers by the National Science Foundation.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Two National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (National MagLab) scientists have received highly competitive CAREER awards from the National Science Foundation for their significant early career accomplishments in research and education.

Physicist Christianne Beekman, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics at Florida State University (FSU), and chemist Yan-Yan Hu, an assistant professor in FSU's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, both received the award, which supports scholars in the early stages of their careers as they develop their long-term research programs.

The grants, said MagLab Director Greg Boebinger, put Beekman and Hu in a rarefied group.

"It's a mark that they are contributing on a national level," Boebinger said. "This is a substantial award, and it really changes the landscape for two researchers who are very deserving."

The awards also showcase the institution's interdisciplinary strength, he added. "Their work shows that materials science spans many of the traditional academic disciplines here at the lab."

Both scientists will receive about half a million dollars over five years from the NSF to pursue their research projects.

Beekman and her team will investigate electron spin — or rotational momentum — in frustrated magnets and its potential as an information carrying system in next-generation technologies like quantum computers. After receiving her doctorate from Leiden University in the Netherlands in 2010, Beekman worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Toronto and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She joined FSU and the MagLab in 2014. Read more about Beekman's research.

Hu will explore the fundamental chemistry of structural defects in materials in order to advance understanding of why defects occur and how they might be more effectively harnessed. She and her team will work toward both the creation of functional defects in technologically important materials and the minimization of harmful defects that could compromise material performance. Her research could help improve technologies crucial to energy conversion and storage, data manipulation, sensors and actuators. Hu received her doctorate from Iowa State University and worked as a Newton Fellow and Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Cambridge before arriving at FSU and the MagLab in 2014. Read more about Hu's research.


The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory is the world’s largest and highest-powered magnet facility. Located at Florida State University, the University of Florida and Los Alamos National Laboratory, the interdisciplinary National MagLab hosts scientists from around the world to perform basic research in high magnetic fields, advancing our understanding of materials, energy and life. The lab is funded by the National Science Foundation (DMR-1644779) and the state of Florida. For more information, visit us online at nationalmaglab.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest at NationalMagLab.